August 28, 2013 Subject:
Ayn Rand would be proud!
Clearly intended for management eyes, this unintentionally hilarious film offers a rare, candid glimpse into the corporate mind's contempt for the evils of "human nature"--they actually use the phrase as a perjorative--in a paranoiac, Ayn Rand world where the majority of all moochers (sorry, employees) are lazy and can't be trusted. Lost man-hours notwithstanding, the soreheaded boss's chief complaint about coffee breaks is more prosaic: "...they start yakkin' and slippin' the knife into each other like a bunch of old women!" Ironically, films like this did more to fuel the anti-capitalist movement than a boxcar full of socialist propaganda.
Two funny things - two minutes into this, I got up and went to get a cup of coffee, it sounded so good; and these Prelinger Archive films have taken up more of my hours at work than a years' worth of coffee breaks.
But seriously, I agree with a previous post that this is an interesting look into the much less relaxed attitude they had back then about certain things.
May 6, 2009 Subject:
Coffe Break in 1958
Obviously this 1958 film is dated, but it is still interesting to watch. Lots of our behavior and attitudes have changed over half a century ago. As for the coffee break, if the workers did their jobs effectively, I don't think the boss should have worried so much about it. The break probably helped his employees remain alert during the time they went back to work.
May 2, 2009 Subject:
Why bother, no chicks or cars. Move on
June 4, 2008 Subject:
Forget the sexism...what about Uncle Ben?
I was going to show this to my class (I find that they still make a point, even if few in the class can't appreciate the camp value) so we can discuss taking long breaks.
And, then, I saw the guy serving coffee. My class is made up of mostly African-American women. While he's not doing much but serving coffee, the fact that he looks stereotypical is enough to make me pass until I can do some creative editing.
4 stars for the camp value.
December 19, 2007 Subject:
back to the powder room...
i would have to say that this film is even more sexist than "the trouble with women."
i'm wondering if anyone knows any information about the actor playing joe in this film. he sounds like he could be the voice of huckleberry hound.
June 30, 2007 Subject:
March 17, 2006 Subject:
Rebellion in the Ladies Room
A 1950Âs film in which Al, the boss, complains about the length of time that employees take on coffee breaks. His associate Joe points out the good aspects of coffee breaksÂit gives workers a chance to get to know each other and makes them more efficient. Then we find out whatÂs really bothering the bossÂÂLet me consider one of my pet peeves: women! Of course they all have to stop by the powder room!Â We see a film montage of women workers in the ladies lounge putting on make-up, pulling down their girdles and smoothing their stockings. ÂTheir ten minutes is gone with a cigarette and putting on a new face! HarryÂs Diner or the WaldorfÂit all the same, you never know who might be there!Â After yakking away in the company canteen and spreading all kinds of vicious rumors, ÂWhere do they go on the way back to the office? You guessed it! The powder room again!Â
The women mystify the men by doing all the Âcountless little adjustments known only to a woman!Â This film is much harder on women workers taking coffee breaks than it is on the men. The womenÂs disregard for company routines has a subversive quality that angers and bewilders the boss. But the women workers know that they have dead-end jobs with no chance for advancement, so why should they knock themselves out for nothing? Their rebellion against the demeaning way they're treated in the workplace is their way of asserting their humanity. Maybe if the women workers were given a chance to get ahead like the men and have some real responsibilities they wouldnÂt be spending so much time in the Ladies Room.
The film ends as Al, in typical boss style, dumps the responsibility for the companyÂs coffee break problem on Joe. Al gives Joe a big hourglass that lasts for ten minutes and tells him to use that time twice a day to think about what can be done. It doesnÂt occur to Al that his whiny conversation with Joe is even more of a waste of company time than the time his employees (male or female) spend on their breaks.
August 21, 2005 Subject:
It's 9:50, Folks! Time to Take 20 Minutes of Your 10-Minute Break
Jim has a problem. His boss is upset about how workers find a way to tack on lots of extra minutes to their coffee breaks with such unnecessary activities as talking, smoking, going to the bathroom, and, oh yeah, getting coffee. Since Jim is the personnel manager, the boss hands the problem off to him, demanding that he make the workers limit their breaks to 10 minutes on the nose, or else! To intimidate Jim more, he gives him a ÃÂgiftÃÂ of an hourglass that measures 10 minutes and orders him to use it twice a day at coffee break time while he spends exactly 10 minutes thinking of the solution to the problem. The boss especially has a problem with women, lambasting them for spending time in the ladiesÃÂ room touching up their appearances (though IÃÂll bet if any of the women failed to do this, theyÃÂd be written up for poor appearance). Not considered is the fact that the workers seem to have to leave the building entirely and patronize a local diner with table service in order to get coffee, something that probably takes a lot more time than 10 minutes. Jim solves the problem by using his 10 minutes to get coffee with a buddy, along with a few extra minutes to have a cigarette and go to the bathroom. This management training film is a lot of fun, with a boss you love to hate and workers who gleefully get as much out of their coffee breaks as possible. The message of wasted time is undercut by the fact that the boss is portrayed as such a control freak with no sympathy for the workerÃÂs position, so that even though the workers are essentially schmoozing on company time, you take their side just to thwart that boss. It ends with a Centronesque ÃÂWhat would YOU do?ÃÂ ending. IÃÂll get back to you on that after I go get some coffee.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
July 25, 2003 Subject:
Coffee Work Rendezvous...
This "What would you do?" film is geared towards that very serious American work stoppage problem, the COFFEE BREAK. A manager is summoned into the Boss's office to be questioned about what makes people extend their breaks by more then 10 minutes in some cases, it's costing the company money! This Calvin film doesnt provide solutions to this (quite common) problem, but it brings up a lot of interessting points, nearly all which are relevant today.